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Rumor: Hulu headed to the iPhone

Is Hulu coming to the iPhone? What would this mean for iTunes rentals from matching shows?

Update: a representative for Hulu tells us: "Currently there is no plan to announce Hulu on the iPhone/iPod. We are focused on a free, streaming, ad-supported service."

----- is reporting a "page 2" news item about rolling out a version of the video service that's been specially designed for users of the iPhone and iPod touch later this week. Presumably having seen what the BBC has done with its iPlayer streaming service, it would only be available over Wi-Fi because of EDGE network limitations. The move would also mark the first major content offering from NBC on an Apple-made product sinceit jumped ship from iTunes back in August of last year.

To make money off mobile users I could envision Hulu going one of two routes. The first would be to autodetect when people are coming to the mobile site from a compatible phone and change the streams to ones that have advertisements included as part of the video--similar to what's been done with podcasts. The other way would be to break up the content into pieces and add advertisements in between each chunk, which is what currently does for streaming shows via Adobe's Flash player.

If this does come to fruition I could see a lot of people moving away from buying overlapping content seen on iTunes. While the benefit of purchasing on iTunes is that you can watch them away from a connection, Hulu's potential free price and minimal requirement of having a Wi-Fi connection might be enough to keep someone (myself included) from wanting to shell out $2 for a show.

What do you think?